One of the biggest advantages in war is horses. In the War of the Ring there are two armies with lots of horses, the Riders of Rohan for the Free Peoples and for the forces of Sauron, the
Variags of Khand # Resource # Man Faction # 4 MP
Unique. Playable at Variag Camp if the influence check is greater than 9. Standard Modifications: none.
This is one of the harder factions to bring into play, and that's not just for the roll required. Khand can be an unforgiving place.
To bring this faction in you either need to plan on having a big DI character, someone with a Muster, or count on your luck. It gives no modifications (though no minuses like the Southrons), so you can't get it with a friendly member of a race. Arinmir does get +2 to influence them, but she still needs to roll better than a 5. It's no chalange for a wizard, even with a small follower, and Aragorn with Return of the King should be able to do it, but freeing up that influence can cost you the absence of a character or two. A Lordly Presence played on someone like Adrazar or a Muster with an ordinary warrior should do the trick as well, but that involves an extra card you have to hold in your hand until you can play the faction.
Before you can try to influence in the faction, of course, you have to get to the site. This can be rather challenging what with the creatures that can be played there. It is a Border-hold in a Shadow-land. This means you can get hit by everything from Assassins to Undead. Also, several creatures can be keyed to Khand itself, not least of them four Nazgul. And unless your aren't affraid of Orcs, Trolls, Nazgul, and Undead, you had better come in from the southwest, most probably from an Edhellond based deck (or Minas Tirith). Then once you've got it in play, you have to hope you keep it in play. Muster Disperses has this as a pretty big target, and Mordor In Arms makes the influence attempt very hard and prevents the use of Muster. Even an unhindered wizard can fail to bring in these riders when Mordor is in arms. Further, there are several minions whose homesites are around Mordor. This may be why the Variags were easier turned to fight with Sauron than with the Free People.
So with all these reasons why it's hard to bring in the Variags (and keep them in), why play with them? There 4 MPs, that's why! The equal or greater MPs of greater items that you can get at a site without an auto-attack. And if you've got an influence monster in your company you can hit the Southron Oasis, the Variag Camp, and the Easterling Camp for 13 MPs in three turns and probably assuring that you will not have your item points being more than half... And the Variags may be a prime target for Minion companies in Lidless Eye.
So if you can get these horse riders on your side they can be a great asset. But like any good thing, they're hard to get.
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Card names and text copyright 1996 by Iron Crown Enterprises, all rights reserved. This document copyright 1997 by Trevor Stone. Permission given to duplicate so long as no profit is made and the copyright notice is kept in tact, blah, blah, blah.